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Comparing US vs UK Academia

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Having been back in the US for a full year now, it's interesting to compare how differently academia works here compared to in the UK (where I worked for the preceding 4.5 years).  I much prefer the US system, personally, but will try to offer an even-handed overview here.  Others are of course welcome to contribute their own observations in the comments (or email me if they'd prefer their comment to be posted anonymously).  I especially welcome any corrections if my observations aren't representative in some respects.Firstly, advantages of the UK: * No "up-or-out" tenure-track system means that junior academics are hired directly into permanent positions, which removes a major source of stress for some people.* More research events: the number of reading groups, colloquia, works in progress seminars, etc. -- often several such events every week during term time -- contributes to a very active-feeling "research culture".  I definitely appreciated that before having a kid.  (Now I need all the time I can get for doing my own work!)  Related: Junior academics are much more likely to receive research invitations in the UK than in the US, at least in my experience.Ambivalent differences:* Much shorter UK teaching terms, while highly condensed, may lead to more dedicated time available for research.  (Though I think I nonetheless prefer the more relaxed & spread-out teaching loads of the US.  I generally enjoy teaching, but not when I had to teach 10+ seminar groups in a single week.)* More availability of grants you can apply for to potentially "buy out" your teaching & admin responsibilities and get more research time.  Great for those who are good at writing successful grants.  Otherwise, the application process (and low chances of success) can be a depressing time-sink.  Grant funding is a major factor in determining REF scores (see below) which can lead departments to put significant pressure on. . .

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